It is often claimed that periorbital dark circles are caused by tiredness or working too hard or even just staying up late.
While this can be true, the truth is that your genes play a considerable role here. So what exactly is happening when you get dark circles under or around your eyes?
Simply put, periorbital dark circles are a result of the thin layer of skin below your eyes, showing the blood vessels and the blood they contain more clearly than anywhere else on your body.
(For reference, this skin around your eyelids, called periorbital skin, is on average about 0.5 mm thick compared to an average of about 2 mm thick on most of the rest of your body.)
Now, as you may or may not already know, the reason veins often look blue isn't that the blood inside them is blue; it's because your skin/subcutaneous tissue only lets blue/violet wavelengths of light pass through it.
As a result, only blue light is reflected, and the veins look, well, bluish. (Veins often won't appear blue if a person has darker or lighter skin. Instead, the veins tend to appear green or brown.
On the other hand, people with extremely light skin, such as albinos, will typically have veins that show up as dark purple or dark red, more closely resembling the actual color of the blood running through the veins.)
It's the exact same concept with the skin below your eyes. Those dark bluish circles are (usually) just the result of light being reflected off of the blood vessels sitting just below the surface of that incredibly thin patch of skin.
This is the same reason facial bruises are more prominent below or around the eyes; the thin skin just shows the blood from the ruptured blood vessels a little bit more clearly.
Again, as you may or may not know, as we age, our skin loses its elasticity and ability to regenerate, and as a result, it becomes thinner. This is why more often than not, elderly people will have rather prominent periorbital dark circles regardless of how much they sleep.
As with those who are genetically predisposed to having thinner skin below the eyes, it's just biology.
Another thing that can cause dark circles beneath the eyes is something known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, which is a condition that results in more melanin being produced by the skin below the eyes, resulting in it appearing to be a darker color.
This is mostly a condition that affects (or is at least more noticeable in) darker skinned people. According to Pratik B Sheth et al. of the PDU Government Medical College and Hospital in India, this is one of the most common complaints dermatologists have to deal with.
Unfortunately, as explained in this case study about an Indian gentleman with a particularly severe case of periorbital melanosis, it's challenging to treat in darker skinned patients, which has led to a booming niche market of cover-up make-up for people with darker complexions.
All that said, many factors can make dark circles appear worse, even if you're not genetically predisposed to them. One of the more severe soundings is the oxidization of blood leaking from the periorbital blood vessels, which is just a fancier way of saying that sometimes the blood vessels around your eyes can get damaged, blood leaks out, and you're left with puffy dark circles under your eyes.
It's a relatively simple problem, and even the chronic sufferers of this sort of blood leaking need not worry too much about it. It is also technically reversible with the right treatment, though changes in lifestyle are often recommended before one should consider opting for surgery.
Another problem that goes hand-in-hand with periorbital dark circles is periorbital puffiness, aka bags below your eyes. In young folk, this is almost always caused by fluid buildup below the eyes, either due to illness, allergies, or merely excessive salt consumption which can result in the body retaining more fluid than usual.
This can place increased pressure on the skin and blood vessels around the eyes, which can force blood vessels closer to the surface of the skin, making dark circles appear more prominent. Eye puffiness can also merely be a result of old age.
Now all of that is (hopefully) interesting to you, but we still haven't accurately answered the question: Can those dark circles be caused by fatigue and, if so, why? Well, the answer to the former is: sometimes. So why exactly is this the case? It's not like lack of sleep makes your skin thinner, right?
The answer is thought to lie in how the body acts when it's low on energy. When the body is tired, production of the chemical cortisol is dramatically increased to help give you the energy you need to stay awake.
Among many other things, cortisol increases the volume of the blood in your body, which causes the blood vessels (including the ones below your eyes) to engorge to accommodate it.
As we've already mentioned, dark circles are mostly created by us seeing our blood vessels/blood through our skin, so it stands to reason that when those blood vessels are engorged, they'd be easier to see, even in people who may have been blessed with thicker skin below their eyes.
- Testosterone cream and gel for supplementation treating hypogonadism - April 9th, 2019
- Testosterone Replacement Beneficial for Modern Men? - April 2nd, 2019
- Testosterone Creams for Low Testosterone Treatment and Andropause - August 1st, 2018
- Testosterone Gel Information - July 18th, 2018
- Testosterone gel - Drugs dot com - August 16th, 2016
- LowTestosterone.com - Testosterone Gel - August 11th, 2016
- AndroGel testosterone gel - Drug information from MediLexicon - June 15th, 2016
- Side Effects of Testim (Testosterone Gel) Drug Center - RxList - May 5th, 2016
- DailyMed - TESTIM - testosterone gel - May 3rd, 2016
- Testosterone gel is no fountain of youth, study finds - CBS News - April 10th, 2016
- DailyMed - TESTOSTERONE- testosterone gel - February 8th, 2016
- Testosterone Gel & Testicular Shrinkage! - October 24th, 2015
- Testim (Testosterone Gel) Drug Information: Medication ... - October 24th, 2015
- Low Thyroid Level Symptoms | HagglundMD.com Thyroid Doctor - September 26th, 2015
- List Of Low-Carb Doctors - September 25th, 2015
- AndroGel (testosterone gel) - August 12th, 2015
- AndroGel® (Testosterone Gel) 1.62% - August 2nd, 2015
- Testim gel: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings - Drugs.com - July 3rd, 2015
- Testim (Testosterone Gel) Drug Information: Description ... - July 3rd, 2015
- DailyMed - TESTOSTERONE- testosterone gel, metered - July 3rd, 2015
- number one testosterone booster , testosteron booster , testosterone gel , booster testosterone - Video - May 5th, 2015
- natural testosterone boosting , natural testosterone gel , best testosterone supplements - Video - May 2nd, 2015
- Testosterone Gel Treatment of Gynecomastia | eHow - April 6th, 2015
- Why Repros Therapeutics, Inc. Shares Are Soaring - April 2nd, 2015
- Low T Treatment | FORTESTA (testosterone) Gel CIII - March 17th, 2015
- Testosterone Gel - How RS Transaderm makes your test ... - March 12th, 2015
- MEDICATION GUIDE Testosterone (tes-TOS-te-rn) Gel, CIII - March 12th, 2015
- High testosterone ups heart disease risk in men - March 10th, 2015
- Men's heart disease risk linked to high testosterone and low estrogen - March 9th, 2015
- Higher heart disease risk for men due to high testosterone, low estrogen - March 9th, 2015
- Vital Health, Inc. Provides Tips On How To Combat Cystic Acne Through Dietary Changes and Natural Remedies - February 20th, 2015
- Men, women: Why cholesterol matters - January 30th, 2015
- How the menopause can drive women MAD - January 26th, 2015
- How the menopause can drive women MAD Panic attacks, violent rages, hallucinations just some of the terrifying ... - January 26th, 2015
- Gilead rival AbbVie's new hepatitis C treatment wins EU approval - January 20th, 2015
- Testosterone Gel A Convenient, Natural Solution - December 30th, 2014
- Doctor's Testosterone Gel - Buy Doctors Testosterone Gel ... - December 28th, 2014
- DailyMed - ANDROGEL- testosterone gel - November 25th, 2014
- Endo Int'l Buys Rights To Natesto Testosterone Nasal Gel From Trimel BioPharma - November 25th, 2014
- Secaucus police officer charged with selling steroid gel on eBay: officials - November 18th, 2014
- What Are the Benefits of Testosterone Gel? | eHow - November 2nd, 2014
- AbbVie Sales Blow Past Expectations - October 31st, 2014
- Buy Cernos Gel, Buy Testosterone Gel from Certified Online ... - October 28th, 2014
- testosterone gel (Androgel): Drug Facts, Side Effects and ... - October 3rd, 2014
- Woman Says Dentists Testosterone Gel Rubbed Off On Her During Sexual Attack, Causing Her To Grow Unsightly Body Hair - September 30th, 2014
- Androxal superior to Androgel in Phase 3 trial - September 27th, 2014
- 'When I look at myself I am not impressed at all' - August 2nd, 2014
- Don't Make This Big Investing Mistake Once Interest Rates Start Rising - August 2nd, 2014
- Why Isn't This Swirling Low in the Atlantic a Tropical Storm? - August 2nd, 2014
- As Political Disenchantment Soars, Lines At The Polls Grow Shorter - July 26th, 2014
- Love Letters: We Don't Have Much To Talk About - July 26th, 2014
- Wonkblog: Britains economy is finally bigger than it was in 2008. What took so long? - July 26th, 2014
- Wounded veteran is standing tall, looking to the future - July 6th, 2014
- Testosterone Nasal Gel Claims To Help Women Reach Orgasm (And Has 'No Side Effects') - June 18th, 2014
- Tefina NOSE gel claims to boost number of orgasms a woman can have - June 18th, 2014
- Book Extract: Set ambitious targets to win - June 2nd, 2014
- Double Blessing For Trimel Pharma... - May 31st, 2014
- Testosterone Gels - May 1st, 2014
- Andractim Testosterone Gel for Testosterone Replacement ... - April 30th, 2014
- AUXL Gives Bleak Outlook, IG Reverses Loss, ENDP Opens Wallet, BOTA Stops Work - April 30th, 2014
- How to Apply Testosterone Gel - 31 Day Testosterone Plan - Video - April 22nd, 2014
- Is Your Husband At Risk for a Testosterone Heart Attack? - April 16th, 2014
- Testosterone Cypionate | Best Testosterone Supplments - April 14th, 2014
- Low T Litigation - Video - April 2nd, 2014
- Perrigo sues FDA over failure to grant therapeutic equivalence rating for testosterone gel - March 24th, 2014
- Testosterone Monograph for Professionals - Drugs.com - March 7th, 2014
- Could the male hormone testosterone transform a woman's looks, life and libido? - March 6th, 2014
- Group wants heart attack warning on testosterone - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports - February 25th, 2014
- Startling Effects of Testosterone Therapy - February 8th, 2014
- Questions & Answers 195 - Video - February 5th, 2014
- Testosterone Tx Ups Heart Attack Risk at Any Age - January 31st, 2014
- Testosterone Treatments Linked to Heart Attacks - January 30th, 2014
- Testosterone gel: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings ... - January 23rd, 2014
- Testosterone Gel Vs. Patch | eHow - eHow | How to Videos ... - December 24th, 2013
- AndroGel (Testosterone Gel for Topical Use) Drug Information ... - December 24th, 2013
- Best Natural Testosterone Booster (Get FREE Bottle) - Video - December 23rd, 2013
- Top Testosterone Boosters (FREE Bottle Offer) - Video - December 23rd, 2013
- Female Sexual Desire Drug Rejected by U.S. Regulators - December 12th, 2013
- Manufacturers of "female Viagra" appeal FDA denial - December 12th, 2013
- Side Effects of AndroGel (Testosterone Gel for Topical Use ... - December 10th, 2013
Word Count: 895